Li named Pac-12 women's head coach of the year - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Li named Pac-12 women's head coach of the year

Tucson, Ariz. – The University of Arizona Wildcat women's cross country team received multiple honors from the Pac-12 on Tuesday. Sophomore Kayla Beattie, a transfer from Iowa, was named the 2013 Women's Newcomer of the Year. Head coach James Li was named the 2013 Women's Head Coach of the Year.

Li led the women's cross country through an outstanding 2013 campaign. Last Saturday, Nov. 23, they earned a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships. It was the best finish ever by an Arizona women's team at the NCAA Championships. The Wildcats ran in very tough conditions, dealing with temperatures around 30 degrees, thick mud on the course and gusts of wind. Despite that they took second place and two Wildcats, senior Elvin Kibet (15th place) and junior Nicci Corbin (22nd place) earned NCAA All-American honors.

Their second-place finish ended up being the team's worst finish on the season. They won every other race, including the first conference championship in program history. They also won the NCAA West Regional for the first time since 1998.

Beattie, from Woodstock, Ill., made a huge impact in her first year at Arizona. She won her first race as a Wildcat, winning the 5K at the George Kyte Classic in Flagstaff, Ariz. She took sixth place overall and was the third Wildcat to finish the 6K race at Roy Griak. She led the Wildcats once again at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, taking seventh place overall in the 6,000-meter race. Beattie's fifth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships was second among UA runners and good for a first-team All-Pac-12 honors. She was the No. 2 runner for the UA women at the NCAA West Regional, taking ninth place and earning all-region accolades. Despite falling early in the race at the NCAA Championships, Beattie finished in 90th place overall (64 points) and helped the women earn a second-place finish.

Senior Elvin Kibet also earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors for her second-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships.  Kibet was also named the 2013 Scholar Athlete of the Year. Junior Nicci Corbin earned a sixth-place finish and was also a member of the first-team All-Pac-12.

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